Money laundering risks

My boyfriend and I are buying a house. My solicitors have asked me for identification and proof of address. Is this really necessary?

t My boyfriend and I are buying a house. My solicitors have asked me for identification and proof of address. Is this really necessary?

Under the Money Laundering Regulations 2003, solicitors and other professionals are required to check the identity of clients. Your solicitor must, as soon as possible, ask you for satisfactory evidence of identification.

t My parents have offered to lend us the deposit, in cash. Will our solicitor accept this?

The source of any large cash payments from a client must be verified. Most solicitors will not accept cash payments in excess of certain amounts, for example, £500.

t My solicitor has asked us lots of questions about our finances and our mortgage application. Is he just being nosy?

Under the Money Laundering Regulations, solicitors are required to follow certain guidelines issued by the Law Society. Solicitors will try to get to know their clients, to make sure that there are no suspicious circumstances. Solicitors involved in property transactions are at particular risk from being involved in money laundering. This is the process through which criminals attempt to conceal the true origin or ownership of the proceeds of their criminal activities in order to make it appear as though it has a legitimate source. Solicitors who fail to report a client where there is a suspicion that a money laundering offence may be, or has been committed, can be prosecuted.

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t What type of request would make my solicitor suspicious?

A solicitor might be suspicious if your funds are coming from overseas or if you have a large sum of money in your bank or if you pay some money over to the solicitor and then suddenly ask for it to be repaid to you. If you can explain anything which may seem unusual, your solicitor should be happy to proceed.

t I thought that everything I told my solicitor would be confidential?

Normally, yes, a solicitor has a duty of confidentiality to his clients, but if he or she thinks you are involved in money laundering, he or she will have to consider making a report to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

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